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Splash Spring 2016 is April 9-10

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ESP Biography



ERIK YOUNGS, ESP Teacher




Major: German Studies

College/Employer: Stanford

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Erik Youngs

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Not Available.



Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

L2042: Introduction to Philosophy (1 of 4): Origins of Philosophical Thinking in Splash! Spring 2012
In this series of courses we will be discussing various thinkers of the Western philosophical canon who dealt with many of the perennial intellectual problems that have perplexed thinkers for centuries and continue to do so to this day. These topics include questions such as: Does God exist? Why is there evil in the world? Is my mind just a part of my body or something distinct and separable from it? Some of the philosophical problems that we will deal with might initially seem silly to question at all, for example: Is it ever possible to satisfactorily distinguish between my dreaming and waking states? Does my experience of the real world actually correspond to anything existing outside of my own mind? Or even: How is the acquisition of true knowledge possible? And if this knowledge is in fact possible, does it come from reason or from experience? Along the way we will acquire an understanding of some of the specific concepts that philosophers use to articulate their experience and the world we live in. In this first course we will discuss the various philosophical viewpoints of the two founders of the Western philosophical tradition - the ancient Greek thinkers Plato and Aristotle - and gain an understanding of how these influential philosophers ended up having such a profound effect on Western civilization.


L2045: Introduction to Philosophy (2 of 4): Rationalism and Empiricism in Splash! Spring 2012
In this series of courses we will be discussing various thinkers of the Western philosophical canon who dealt with many of the perennial intellectual problems that have perplexed thinkers for centuries and continue to do so to this day. These topics include questions such as: Does God exist? Why is there evil in the world? Is my mind just a part of my body or something distinct and separable from it? Some of the philosophical problems that we will deal with might initially seem silly to question at all, for example: Is it ever possible to satisfactorily distinguish between my dreaming and waking states? Does my experience of the real world actually correspond to anything existing outside of my own mind? Or even: How is the acquisition of true knowledge possible? And if this knowledge is in fact possible, does it come from reason or from experience? Along the way we will acquire an understanding of some of the specific concepts that philosophers use to articulate their experience and the world we live in. In this second course in our "Introduction to Philosophy" series, we will compare and contrast the ideas of two very different, but equally influential, philosophers of the early modern period (c. 1600 - 1700): the French rationalist Rene Descartes and the British empiricist John Locke. Both of these thinkers exhibited a profound influence on the budding science of the time, while also innovating the ways in which we understand the role of religion in human affairs.


L2053: Introduction to Philosophy (3 of 4): Skepticism and Belief in Splash! Spring 2012
In this series of courses we will be discussing various thinkers of the Western philosophical canon who dealt with many of the perennial intellectual problems that have perplexed thinkers for centuries and continue to do so to this day. These topics include questions such as: Does God exist? Why is there evil in the world? Is my mind just a part of my body or something distinct and separable from it? Some of the philosophical problems that we will deal with might initially seem silly to question at all, for example: Is it ever possible to satisfactorily distinguish between my dreaming and waking states? Does my experience of the real world actually correspond to anything existing outside of my own mind? Or even: How is the acquisition of true knowledge possible? And if this knowledge is in fact possible, does it come from reason or from experience? Along the way we will acquire an understanding of some of the specific concepts that philosophers use to articulate their experience and the world we live in. In this lecture we will discuss two important philosophers - namely, the Scotsman David Hume (1711 - 1776) and the German thinker Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) - on the topic of why, on the one hand, skepticism is important in our everyday thinking and, on the other hand, why it is important to have belief or faith in certain aspects of life as well. As we will see, while Hume and Kant both agree that both skepticism and belief are important, their respective approaches to this issue are quite different.


L2054: Introduction to Philosophy (4 of 4): Pessimism and Optimism in Splash! Spring 2012
In this series of courses we will be discussing various thinkers of the Western philosophical canon who dealt with many of the perennial intellectual problems that have perplexed thinkers for centuries and continue to do so to this day. These topics include questions such as: Does God exist? Why is there evil in the world? Is my mind just a part of my body or something distinct and separable from it? Some of the philosophical problems that we will deal with might initially seem silly to question at all, for example: Is it ever possible to satisfactorily distinguish between my dreaming and waking states? Does my experience of the real world actually correspond to anything existing outside of my own mind? Or even: How is the acquisition of true knowledge possible? And if this knowledge is in fact possible, does it come from reason or from experience? Along the way we will acquire an understanding of some of the specific concepts that philosophers use to articulate their experience and the world we live in. In this fourth and final installment of the "Introduction to Philosophy" series we will discuss the ideas of two extremely important and influential 19th Century German philosophers: Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900). It is hard to think of two philosophers with more opposing worldviews. While Schopenhauer is a darkly pessimistic thinker who considers this to be the "worst of all possible worlds," Nietzsche, on the other hand, is a life-affirming philosopher who believes that our lives can take on the semblance of a work of art if it is lived properly. We will attempt to tease out the details of each of these fascinating, albeit opposing, viewpoints.


L1390: Introduction to Philosophy (1 of 4): Origins of Philosophical Thinking in Splash! Spring 2011
A brief overview of the main concepts of the ancient philosophers Plato and Aristotle and how the ideas of these thinkers relate to each other, as well as their historical importance. Lecture will last approximately 30 minutes with a concluding 15 minute question and answer session.


L1391: Introduction to Philosophy (2 of 4): Rationalism and Empiricism in Splash! Spring 2011
A brief overview of the main concepts of Early Modern Philosophy of the 17th and 18th Centuries by focusing on the views of the French rationalist Rene Descartes and the British empiricist John Locke. Emphasis will be placed on how the ideas of these thinkers relate to each other, as well as their historical importance. Lecture will last approximately 30 minutes with a concluding 15 minute question and answer session.


L1392: Introduction to Philosophy (4 of 4): Pessimism and Optimism in Splash! Spring 2011
A brief overview of the main concepts of two of the most prominent and influential 19th Century German philosophers, the pessimist Arthur Schopenhauer and his more optimistic antagonist Friedrich Nietzsche. An emphasis will be placed on how the ideas of these two thinkers relate to each other, as well as their historical importance. Lecture will last approximately 30 minutes with a concluding 15 minute question and answer session.


L1492: Introduction to Philosophy (3 of 4): Skepticism and Belief in Splash! Spring 2011
A brief overview of the main concepts of the Scottish skeptic David Hume and how the German thinker Immanuel Kant attempted to answer Hume's skepticism with his own philosophy, which has skeptical implications of its own. Emphasis will be placed on how the ideas of these thinkers relate to each other, as well as their historical importance. Lecture will last approximately 30 minutes with a concluding 15 minute question and answer session.